FUNDING YOUR MINISTRY WHETHER YOU’RE GIFTED OR NOT
An In-depth, Biblical Guide for Successfully Raising Personal Support
DawsonMedia (a Navigator ministry) 1999, 218 pp.
Scott Morton is, I believe, the fundraising trainer for the Navigators. The book is chuck full of practical advice and worksheets. It is worth getting for the Appendix, a thorough Bible Study plus works sheets on all sorts of things. The chapters are straightforward and very practical. I enjoyed the cartoons because I could see myself in them.
Obstacles (including lack of diligence)
“I suspect our yearly financial strategy is often 51 weeks of good intentions, followed by a fight with our spouse…” (19)
“Fundraising will reveal your core attitudes and values.” (23)
“Do you pray about it every day?” (26)
“I keep in my daily prayer journal a list of six to ten friends whom I hope will begin to support us. Beside their names I include the amount I hope they will give. Then I pray regularly for each person and the specific amount.” (27)
“Just because a fundraising tactic works doesn’t make it right.” (28)
“Let’s be biblical. Don’t buy a book on money or fundraising until you’ve spent a good 20 hours in your own personal Bible study on these topics.” (29)
“A letter asking for monthly support is too easy to turn down. It’s like driving an ice cream truck through a neighborhood at 60 miles per hour.” “Face-to-face appeals give a more appropriate opportunity for monthly support.” (31)
“If you don’t have a personal household budget, you’ll stop raising support at 70 to 85 percent because you can get your bills paid. But you’ll have no margin, and you won’t be able to save. And you’ll end up asking your doors to fund your kids’ college.” (35)
“Poor talk dishonors God.” “I call it whining about money.” (36)
“Emphasize the greatness of your vision, not the greatness of your need.” (41)
“A scriptural foundation or promise for your vision will give you confidence and keep you from veering off course.” (41)
“Most people want to give to a ministry that is going somewhere. It doesn’t have to be big or spectacular or even humanly successful, but it does have to have God’s fingerprints all over it.” (42)
“Remember that your fundraising presentation is a framework upon which you hang your dazzling vision. Make it breathe by filling in war stories and pictures. You can never hope to explain your ministry fully, but you can illustrate it! Use illustration to help people see what you’re trying to accomplish.” (42)
Show enthusiasm. Articulate your vision. Keep your presentations simple and interesting. (43)
Questions of Conscience
You are not asking for yourself but for the Kingdom. Knowing donors give to God takes the emotion out of asking. (51)
Do you honestly believe your ministry is significant? When you are perplexed about your vision, raising support is an emotional battle. Get it worked out. But don’t let your fundraising dilemma negate your calling. As you ponder your life aims and vision for ministry, leave funding out of it. (53)
“Order your lifestyle such that you are at maximum fruitfulness in life, ministry, and marriage (if you’re married. What kind of lifestyle will help you be most effective for the Lord?” (67)
“You will be sadly disappointed if you are counting on recruiting more than a few churches. Think about it. Why would a church want to support a stranger?” (72)
One-to-one conversations are the most effective way to communicate. Mass-mailings are a quick way to get disappointed. (75)
“You should never run out of prospective givers. Continue to build relationships, create interest, make acquaintances, and add them to your mailing list. Cultivate your donors and prospective donors. (77)
Don’t ask for prayer when you want money. Osmosis appeals don’t work. Don’t give three choices (cash, prayer, or monthly support) when you want monthly support. 79
Give people a suggested amount or range to give. They need to know your plan and what will provide meaningful help. (81)
Personal Money Management
“People in ministry do not have good financial reputations.” (83)
“If fundraising is not built on a strong foundation of good financial management, then you’ll never have enough money.” (84)
Avoid debt. (87) Americans are far too casual about the cost of going into debt. (93)
Just knowing where your money goes is not budgeting. Budgeting requires “gates” – something that will tell you to stop spending. When the envelope is empty (for a given category), stop spending. A budget gives or denies permission to spend. (89-90)
Know the condition of your assets. Study and understand where your money goes and related money matters. (91)
“Avoid using your credit card, even if you can pay it off. Studies show that Americans spend 19 percent less when they pay by cash or check.” (97)
Determine your fundraising goal. If you are fuzzy about your goal, you will not sound credible. (100) Donor base worksheet (101)
Phoning for Appointments (the hardest part!)
1. Make an outline and pray before you start.
2. Make sure you have the listener’s full attention
3. Mention money when you ask for an appointment.
4. Confirm date, time, place, and directions.
5. Be your enthusiastic self.
6. Expect to get an appointment.
7. Keep the door open.
8. Get started!
Making the Face-to-Face Appeal
“Relax. Be yourself. Don’t rush into your presentation. Get acquainted. Be observant. Notice your friends’ interests… Ask your hosts questions. Be a learner.” (117)
Elements of a personal support interview (118)
3. Presentation – your spiritual journey and calling, video, the problems your ministry hopes to solve (use an outline), ministry strategy (use illustrations), give opportunity for questions
Don’t wait too long to transition. Give your testimony in 3-5 minutes. Ask questions that stimulate dialog. Use an outline to explain why your ministry is needed, i.e., answer the question: what problems in today’s world does my ministry hope to solve. Explain your ministry through illustrations. That’s what people remember. Make sure they know you are asking for support! Then look them in the eye and keep quiet until they respond. (118-122)
Appealing to Major Donors
“If you don’t have a passion for your cause, you will not come across well in your presentations – and practicing won’t help!” (126)
Appealing to Churches
You will be much more successful in your funding if you focus on individuals rather than churches. Focus on one church – your home church or an ‘anchor church’ – instead of many. The exception is those missionaries who have attractive overseas ministries. But if you’re trying to reach college students in your own country you are at the bottom of the missions committee’s list. (133)
“They need appreciation, information, ad encouragement.” (139) “Personal attentiveness is needed.” (142)
Author’s list segmentation: (142-3)
1 Everyone on the Christmas list – 4 times/yr – one page, personally signed in heavy blue ink.
2 Donors receive 2 additional letters, intimate and shorter, often on monarch-0size stationary. Tell more personal challenges and give intimate prayer requests.
3 Prayer warriors get a short note on occasion, a fast, unedited flash of prayer news, unsigned.
4 As-I-think-of-you notes or e-mails
Missionaries drop the ball when it comes to communicating to the donor that they made a difference! (150)
How to Write Letters People Will Read
1. Limit your letter to one topic, one page
2. Include a photo
3. Use simple graphics, plenty of white space.
4. Find an attention grabbing lead.
5. Tell war stories.
6. Weed out unnecessary words.
7. Use action verbs.
8. Avoid jargon
9. Avoid generalities
10. Use a specific date
11. Give news, not just sermonettes
How to Write Direct Mail Appeals
Chapter for Missions Committees and Pastors on how to help individuals raise funds. Have them do a Bible study on fundraising. Assign a funding coach to help them and hold them accountable on a weekly basis. Have the coach help them develop a first draft strategy. Provide training through the Navigators Raising Personal Support video or some other tool.